WASHINGTON, D.C. | March 5, 2021 — Yesterday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the creation of a Climate and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Task Force in the Division of Enforcement in order to develop initiatives to identify misconduct in issuers’ disclosures of climate risk and ESG information. Notably, the SEC emphasized that it would be relying on whistleblowers in identifying material gaps and misstatements in these disclosures.
The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) strongly supports the creation of this task force. As explained in NWC’s July report, “Exposing a Ticking Time Bomb,” there is a high risk of fraudulent disclosures by key players in the fossil fuel industry due to decades of deception and denial about the grave threats posed by climate change and the failure of many energy firms to meaningfully adjust their business models. If left unchecked, such deception could undercut efforts to ensure a managed transition to a low-carbon economy, and banks and insurers could be left unprepared for the stresses of rapid asset deflation – potentially culminating in the implosion of our financial system.
John Kostyack, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, said: “We applaud the SEC’s commitment to addressing fraudulent concealment of climate risk through the creation of this task force. Decades of deception in the fossil fuel industry have cheated investors of critical information and left our economy woefully unprepared to address climate change. We look forward to working with whistleblowers and others fighting climate-related corruption to ensure that this task force succeeds with its critical mission.”
For more information, please contact Nick Younger at firstname.lastname@example.org.